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Top Gun: Maverick


Story Overview:
After serving over 30 years as one the the U.S Navy's finest and most renowned aviators, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell manages to continue to dodge any further promotion knowing full well that it would be the ticket to grounding him and pulling him out of the pilot seat. After a run-in with an Admiral, Maverick is tasked with the difficult mission of training a detachment of the finest Top Gun graduates for a particularly dangerous assignment that only the best of the best might ever dare to try let alone survive. With ghosts of the past lurking at every corner and with every decision, Maverick not only has to find a way to bring these young, confident pilots to fully realize themselves - but he must also overcome the grief, guilt and burdens of a time since gone.

I went into Top Gun: Maverick expecting to see Tom Cruise do his thing and do it well; from stunts to charismatic screen presence, quips and one liners.
You get all of it.

But you get a whole lot more.

I did not go into this expecting for it to be my favorite film released so far this year.
I came out knowing that it was.

This film is shot beautifully. The way that the aircrafts are framed and masterfully captured on film from the very first shot of the movie sets the scene for what is to come. There's an artistry in the way that the director makes the fighter jets in this look damn near sexy at times, terrifying at others and damn cool every other moment. These visuals along with an amazingly fitting soundtrack and an action-packed-yet-character-driven-story full of tension, emotion and a heartfelt message make Top Gun: Maverick a tour de force.

The close up shots of actors in their cockpits are exceptional. The fact that Cruise ensured that the actors were filmed whilst actually being inside the cockpits and sustaining the G-Force their characters are feeling only adds to the real-to-life feeling all the flying scenes have here, only adding to the authenticity of the film as well as character emotions, motivations and so on.

Of course, it is a Top Gun film, and as such, there a moments of endearing corniness, one-liners and bromances -- but I can sincerely say - these do not detract from this sequel, but rather enhance its unique charm.

Tom Cruise leads the cast here epically. He's as much Maverick as he was years ago and he is a stand-out. This man impresses more and more with everything he does and no matter how much I want to dislike the guy, he proves time and time again that when he's on screen -- no one can quite do what Tom Cruise does. His passion for the craft, for authenticity and for doing his own stunts at any given moment is inspiring. This film's solidified this man as one of Hollywood's most committed movie stars. All of the supporting cast are phenomenal as well and there are no weak links. Jennifer Connelly plays an endearing Penny Benjamin, injecting humor and heart into an at times very sombre film. Miles Teller is fantastic as Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw; Goose's son. He and Cruise have some exceptional chemistry and the two of them sharing the screen offers some of the most heart-wrenching and hilarious moments of the film. Val Kilmer makes a small - albeit - welcome appearance as Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky only adding emotional weight to the film and to Maverick's own development with the arc that takes place between the two of them.

Top Gun: Maverick is staggering. It made me weep like a baby three times, it made me want to clap and cheer (granted, I knew better than to do that in a theatre), it had me on the edge of my seat and had my heart pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. Frankly, I haven't had a movie-going experience like this in over five years. There's something about Top Gun: Maverick that's unexplainable. It has a feeling or a aura that kind of hugs you in and holds you. As if you can feel the love that went into this thing from the moment the first shot flashes up and an iconic song blares to life. Nostalgia finds a way of seeping its way back and yet, Top Gun: Maverick feels fresh all at the same time.

I loved this film.

In fact, writing this review was so difficult because I can't articulate how much I enjoyed it. How much it made me feel and fall in love with the experience of going to the theatre again for some glorious action-packed flying sequences and moments that made me laugh, cry and feel in a way that film should.

Even with all of this, I had so much fun with it.

I was so invested.

And I know it's going to be a long while until a film makes me feel such a way again...

My rating for Top Gun: Maverick is a solid: